Some people call it Cold Oatmeal. Others label it as Overnight Cereal or Overnight Oats. Personally, I like the idea of Ice Box Oats. I think it gives a delightful morning meal a rustic sound that matches its taste, even if it isn’t completely accurate.
The first time I had this was during a weekend trip to a beach house in Oregon with friends. One of our dear companions offered to make “cold oatmeal” for breakfast. Needless to say, the description didn’t appeal to me but I was assured that it wasn’t the way it sounded. Watching her mix the ingredients the night before, I still wasn’t sold. It just looked like it was going to be cold oatmeal.
By morning, her creation had been transformed into this rich, creamy and full of flavor mixture. Cold, yes. Just oatmeal? Never!
The basic recipe is simple. Rolled oats, yogurt and milk (1:1:1 ratio) with your choice of mix ins. Pop the mixture in the fridge overnight and you have a tasty treat for breakfast. The magic happens overnight as the oats absorb the liquid to transform into a rich and creamy meal.
The other good thing about this dish, besides the awesome taste, is that it uses what you have in the pantry. Nuts, dried berries, fruit, flax seeds, chocolate chips, peanut butter. Whatever. The recipe will change depending upon your mood, pantry contents or individual tastes. It can be basic or as slutted up as you please
Ice Box Oats (makes two servings)
2/3 cup plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
2/3 cup of milk
2/3 cup of oats
In a large bowl, mix the first three ingredients. Then stir in your favorite toppings from fruit to chopped nuts, peanut butter to flaxseeds. Think of it as a granola bar or trail mix. I’ve even added a bit of pumpkin. Add a bit of spice like cinnamon, cloves, ginger or allspice. This version, I used chopped walnuts and dried cranberries as my flav-add ins.
Pour the mixture into separate containers (if grabbing on the way out the door in the morning) or leave in the container if breakfast is a bit more leisurely. Pop in the fridge and let it work its magic. (Note: can “cook” in fridge up to three days. And despite the name, it doesn’t go in the freezer.)
Next morning, add a dollop of honey or maple syrup and sliced banana or apples (they don’t hold as well over night, optional) and your breakfast is ready!
What’s in your oatmeal?